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Callahan Brothers

The Callahan Brothers were most popular during the 1930s and were known for their yodeling. They were born Walter and Homer Callahan (they later changed their names to Joe and Bill because they were shorter) in mountainous Madison County in western North Carolina. Their childhood was filled with the traditional music of the mountains and the recorded music of such singers as Ernest Stoneman, Riley Puckett and Jimmie Rodgers. After the Callahans began performing, they integrated yodeling into their act and it was this talent that called attention to them during a festival in 1933.

Joe and Bill made their recording debut the following year in New York for ARC; they became the label's most popular duo during this era. That year, they also began appearing on WWNC Asheville, North Carolina. During their recording career, the Callahans moved to several different radio stations, including WHAS Louisville, Kentucky and WWVA Wheeling, West Virginia. Some of the Callahans' most popular tunes include "Little Poplar Log House" and country standard "She's My Curly Headed Baby." In addition to performing their own songs, the two also covered the songs of other performers.

In 1940 the Callahans moved to Oklahoma to briefly work at a radio station in Tulsa. The following year they moved to KRLD Texas and spent the rest of the decade there and at KWFT Wichita Falls, Texas. The duo signed to Decca but didn't release many singles, instead recording transcriptions for the Dallas-based Sellers Company which were usually played on the radio. In 1945, the brothers went to Hollywood to make a movie, Springtime in Texas with Jimmy Wakely. Afterward they did a nationwide promotional tour with the cowboy crooner. Later Bill went on an Eastern tour with Ray Whitely and in 1947 recorded a solo for Cowboy Records in Philadelphia. Four years later, the Callahans became Lefty Frizzell's opening act and recorded eight singles for Columbia.

Later, Joe went back to Asheville and became a grocer while Bill stayed in Dallas to become a photographer; he occasionally returned to music as a bass player or a comic. The brothers briefly reunited in Dallas during the mid-'60s to do a few shows, but by this time Joe's health was failing and he soon returned to North Carolina. He died in 1971. Bill retired and remained in Dallas. ~ Sandra Brennan
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: American Yodeling

1. Yodeling' Mountaineer

2. Gonna Quit My Rowdy Ways

3. The Arizona Yodeler

4. My Clinch Mountain Home

5. The Devil's Great Grandson

6. Cowboy Night Herd Song

7. Worried Devil Blues

8. Will There Be Any Yodelers In Heaven?

9. The Nasty Swing

10. Yodeling Mule

11. Lost Lover Blues

12. The Yodelin' Teacher

13. Lonesome Yodel Blues

14. La Valse De Marriage

15. Lovesick Blues

16. I Wanna Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart

17. My Swiss Moonlight Lullaby

18. Mule Skinner Blues

19. Rockin' Yodel

20. Yodeling Fiddling Blues

21. Standin' On The Corner (Blue Yodel No. 9)

22. Sauerkraut

23. Yodeling Radio Joe

25. You Gotta To Go To Work

26. Sleep, Baby, Sleep

x

Track List: Baby, How Can It Be? Songs Of Love, Lust & Contempt From The 1920s And 30s

Disc 1

1. Baby, How Can It Be?

8. Hapa Haole Hula Girl

9. Sweetest Girl In Town

17. Lost Lover Blues

20. Don't Leave Me Here

Disc 2

2. Tomi Tomi

7. It's Heated

12. Wild About My Loving

13. There's More Pretty Girls Than One

20. Nehi Mama Blues

Disc 3

1. I'm Gonna Kill Myself

2. She Ain't Built That Way

4. You Gonna Look Like A Monkey When You Get Old

7. I Used To Call Her Baby

14. I Want To Ask The Stars

15. Some Cold Rainy Day

16. Corinna Blues

17. Big Leg Blues

20. The World Is Going Wrong

x

Track List: Out There: Wild And Wondrous Roots Of Rock 'n' Roll, Vol. 1

1. Pascola Dance

2. Oba Oyinbo

3. High Water Everywhere

4. Rockin' Rollin' Mama

5. Tomi Tomi

6. Serves 'Em Fine

7. It's A Good Thing

8. Lint Head Stomp

9. Fox And The Hounds

10. African Love Call

11. A Big Ball In Cowtown

12. Pero Hay Que Triste

14. Shimmy Shakin' Daddy

16. Shake It

17. Somebody's Been Using That Thing

18. Evans Shuffle ((Feat. Little Walter)

19. Dusty Blossom Boogie

20. Rock Little Baby

x

Track List: The Early Roots Of Rock N' Roll

1. High Water Everywhere

2. Rock And Roll

4. Somebody's Been Using That Thing

5. Bop Cat Bop

6. Oh Red

7. Dusty Blossom Boogie

8. Evans Shuffle

9. Serves 'Em Fine

10. White Lightning

11. A Big Ball In Cowtown

12. Ladies Choice

13. Rock Island Line

14. Two Little Men In A Flying Saucer

15. My Black Mama Part One

16. Rockin' Chair Money

17. Your Line Was Busy

19. Shake It

20. Rockin' Rollin' Mama

21. Country Blues

22. Ramrod

23. Down The Road Apiece

24. Round Town Girls

25. Rhythm And Booze

26. Saturday Night Fish Fry

27. Alarm Clock Boogie

28. Shimmy Shakin' Daddy

29. She's Gone

30. Hittin' The Bottle Stomp

31. Lint Head Stomp

32. Fast Freight

33. Real Wild Child

34. Pero Hay Que Triste

35. Tomi Tomi

36. African Love Call

37. Oh By Jingo!

38. It's A Good Thing

39. Rock Little Baby

40. Mother Fuya

41. Trollin'

42. Let That Liar Alone

43. Rockin' With Red

44. Fox And The Hounds

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